By Sam Ancer
Women are 45% more likely to leave the tech industry in comparison to men.
Only 24% of tech jobs are held by women globally.
What’s worse is that female held roles in tech have been slowly decreasing over the past few decades.
Women In Tech (WIT) is an NGO designed to promote women working in the tech industry, both in and outside of computing and developer roles.
WIT has an ambitious goal of helping 5 million women in STEM by 2030.
We sat down with their Global Talent Hub Director Melissa Slaymaker to find out more about what this essential organisation is all about.
AES: When did WIT start?
WIT: Ayumi Moore Ayoki started WIT in 2018 from Paris with the double mission to close the gender gap and to help women embrace technology.
AES: How does WIT aim to close the gender gap in STEM?
WIT: The aim is to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM career fields.
AES: What are the main points of focus for WIT?
WIT: We focus on 4 primary areas that are a call for action: Education, Business, Social Inclusion, Advocacy. The aim is to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM career fields.
AES: What are the main barriers facing women in STEM?
WIT: Not enough role models, which gives an inherited lack of confidence and imposter syndrome, which need to be overcome.
AES: What are the other spaces that Women in tech could occupy?
WIT: IT has a variety of roles including, Business Analysis, Product Management, Project Management, Design roles and Art (NFT’s), Leadership, Business Development and Sales in an IT space.
AES: What are the challenges that WIT face in South Africa?
WIT: Every Country and chapter is different and has different priorities and challenges. South Africa has to largely deal with the following:
- Access to technology, data and infrastructure.
- Safe access to computer labs.
- Language barriers (not everyone speaks english as a first language). Working with tech companies to teach in their home language is a priority for our operations in South Africa
- Cultural differences can sometimes make our work harder, particularly in regards to the already male dominated space of tech, which makes issues like imposter syndrome even worse.
AES: What can individuals and organisations do to help WIT achieve their goals
WIT: There is a lot people and groups can do, such as volunteer to mentor students or provide job shadowing programmes. Donate to our Phillipi village, we need computers, headphones, printer, projector screen, money for wifi and rent. They can also sponsor an award.
Women In Tech is hosting various Awards ceremonies across the world.
WIT also offers a 4 month mentorship program which helps teach confidence, communication, soft skills, job readiness, and entrepreneurial skills.
- WIT has paired over 1700 mentors and mentees.
- More than 14000 women have gone through their educational program.
- Donated more than 200 laptops and computers to communities in South Africa and India.
Research indicates that organisations that have more gender equality tend to do better, in terms of profitability, environmental impact, and research and development.